October 2016

Congratulations to Tim Anderson and José Padovani!


Tim (EE and ICME PhD candidate) and José (EE PhD '16) were recognized for their outstanding teaching. They each were awarded the 2016 Centennial Teaching Assistant Award. The award program recognizes outstanding instruction by TA's in the Humanities and Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering schools.

Nominated by faculty, peers, and previous students, each received a $500 stipend and certificate.

About Tim

Tim is a committed instructor. He has taught, tutored, or assisted with Computational and Mathematical Engineering (CME) 102, 108 and 100. His nominators emphasized his valuable contribution in advancing equity via ACE (Additional Calculus for Engineers) in CME. Tim is a first-year PhD student, having completed his EE BS earlier in 2016.

A few comments from Tim's nomination:

PhD candidate Tim Anderson
  • Tim did a phenomenal job not only reviewing and explaining material in-depth, but going the extra mile in explaining industry and major related applications for nearly every topic.
  • I really benefited from the extra practice, and having a good relationship with Tim.
  • ACE has greatly helped me with my academic experiences so far in STEM: developing better study habits, giving me extra help, and gaining confidence in my abilities.






About José

José Padovani
José Padovani was the Teaching Assistant and head lab TA for EE101A. Being the first to incorporate the course's new curriculum, he rewrote the exercises, synchronizing them with the lectures, while incorporating feedback from students. EE101A's enrollment climbed significantly with José's insights and improvements.

Excerpts from José's nomination:

  • He is genuinely dedicated to making sure that the labs ran smoothly, and that students truly learn from the exercises.
  • José's mini-tutorials helped all the students be better prepared for each section, resulting in an improved learning experience for students.
  • He doesn't leave until he's sure that everyone 'gets it'.


Please join us in recognizing Tim and José – their efforts are greatly valued!

October 2016

Stephen P. Boyd has been named as a 2016 INFORMS Fellow. The Fellow Award is reserved for distinguished individuals who have demonstrated outstanding and exceptional accomplishments in operations research and the management sciences.

His citation reads, "For exceptional teaching and broad dissemination of convex optimization and outstanding research leading to innovative formulations and algorithms for problems across a wide array of disciplines."

Stephen has received many awards and honors for his research in control systems engineering and optimization. In 2016, he also received Stanford's highest teaching honor, the Walter J. Gores teaching award for his signature course, Convex Optimization. He is the author of many research articles and three books: Convex Optimization (with Lieven Vandenberghe, 2004), Linear Matrix Inequalities in System and Control Theory (with L. El Ghaoui, E. Feron, and V. Balakrishnan, 1994), and Linear Controller Design: Limits of Performance (with Craig Barratt, 1991). His group has produced many open source tools, including CVX (with Michael Grant), CVXPY (with Steven Diamond) and Convex.jl (with Madeleine Udell and others), widely used parser-solvers for convex optimization.

Stephen is the Samsung Professor of Engineering, and Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Information Systems Laboratory at Stanford University. He has courtesy appointments in the Department of Management Science and Engineering and the Department of Computer Science, and is member of the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering. His current research focus is on convex optimization applications in control, signal processing, finance, and circuit design.


Please join us in congratulating Stephen for this well-deserved honor.

October 2016

Excerpted from Dean Drell's announcement:
President Emeritus John L. Hennessy has been appointed as the inaugural James F. Gibbons Professor in the School of Engineering. This chair was established with an endowed gift from James and Lynn Gibbons. The chair carries with it a preference for faculty who have demonstrated leadership and show leadership potential that will serve the ideals of Stanford University.

John joined Stanford's faculty in 1977 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering. From 1983 to 1993, he was director of the Computer Systems Laboratory. He served as chair of the computer science department from 1994 to 1996, and later that year was named dean of the School of Engineering. In 1999, he was named provost before serving as Stanford University president from 2000 to 2016.

A pioneer in computer architecture, John and a team of researchers developed the Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC), a technology that revolutionized the computer industry by increasing performance while reducing costs. During a sabbatical leave from Stanford in 1984, he co-founded MIPS Computer Systems (now MIPS Technologies), which designs microprocessors. John co-authored two widely used textbooks on computer architecture: Computer Organization and Design: The Hardware/Software Interface and Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach.

John received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Villanova University in 1973 and a master's degree and PhD in computer science from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, in 1975 and 1977, respectively.

He has served on the boards of directors at Cisco Systems since 2002 and Google since 2004, and was on the Atheros board of directors from 1998 to 2010.

John is a recipient of many awards, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Medal of Honor, the Founders Award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award from the IEEE Computer Society. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow at the IEEE, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the Computer History Museum.

John's far-reaching impact on engineering, his visionary leadership in transforming higher education, and his commitment to preserving and enhancing Stanford's excellence as one of the world's leading research and teaching institutions make him a quintessential leader and the ideal match for this endowed chair.


Please join us in congratulating John!

October 2016

Excerpted from Dean Drell's announcement:

Mendel Rosenblum has been appointed as the inaugural DRC Professor in the School of Engineering. This professorship was established with an endowed gift from David Cheriton. The chair carries with it a preference for faculty whose academic focus is in experimental computer systems.

Mendel has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 1991. He currently serves as the faculty director of the Stanford Experimental Data Center Laboratory and the Stanford Computer Forum. His research is focused on system software, distributed systems, and computer architecture. Mendel has published research in the areas of disk storage management, computer simulation techniques, scalable operating system structure, virtualization computer security, and mobility.

A co-founder of VMware Inc., Mendel helped design and build virtualization technology for commodity computing platforms. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation's National Young Investigator Award, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship. Additionally, he is the recipient of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Computer Entrepreneur Award and Reynold B. Johnson Information Storage Systems Award. Mendel is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Mendel received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Virginia in 1984, and a master's degree and PhD in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989 and 1992, respectively.


Please join us in congratulating Mendel!

October 2016

EE's Jonathan Fan has been named one of the nation's most innovative early-career scientists and engineers by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. 

Jonathan's research aims to push the physical limits of miniaturized optical systems to new functional regimes, using a multi-disciplinary effort that combines materials science, nanotechnology, and computational design.

Beginning in 1988, the Packard Fellowship has awarded support to promising early-career professors from 50 universities in the fields of physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, astronomy, computer science, earth science, ocean science, and all branches of engineering. The Packard Fellowships are among the nation's largest nongovernmental fellowships, designed to allow maximum flexibility in how the funding is used. 

Please join us in congratulating Jonathan for this very well-deserved recognition of his stellar work on electromagnetics, plasmonics, and flexible and stretchable electronics.


Read more about the 2016 Packard Fellowships

Fan Lab - Applied Nanophotonics Lab 

September 2016

For years, the net neutrality debate has been at an impasse: either the internet is open or preferences are allowed. But professors Nick McKeown and Sachin Katti, and EE PhD Yiannis Yiakoumis ­– say their new technology, called Network Cookies, makes it possible to have preferential delivery and an open internet. Network Cookies allow users to choose which home or mobile traffic should get favored delivery, while putting network operators and content providers on a level playing field in catering to such user-signaled preferences.

"So far, net neutrality has been promoted as the best possible defense for users," Katti said. "But treating all traffic the same isn't necessarily the best way to protect users. It often restricts their options and this is why so-called exceptions from neutrality often come up. We think the best way to ensure that ISPs and content providers don't make decisions that conflict with the interests of users is to let users decide how to configure their own traffic."

McKeown said Network Cookies implement user-directed preferences in ways that are consistent with the principles of net neutrality.

"First, they're simple to use and powerful," McKeown said. "They enable you to fast-lane or zero-rate traffic from any application or website you want, not just the few, very popular applications. This is particularly important for smaller content providers – and their users – who can't afford to establish relationships with ISPs. Second, they're practical to deploy. They don't overwhelm the user or bog down user devices and network operators and they function with a variety of protocols. Finally, they can be a very practical tool for regulators, as they can help them design simple and clear policies and then audit how well different parties adhere to them."


This article is adapted from Stanford Engineering News. Read full article.

September 2016

Technology developed by Stanford Bio-X scientists Krishna Shenoy (EE) and postdoctoral fellow Paul Nuyujukian, directly reads brain signals to drive a cursor moving over a keyboard. In an experiment conducted with monkeys, the animals were able to transcribe passages from the New York Times and Hamlet at a rate of up to 12 words per minute.

Earlier versions of the technology have already been tested successfully in people with paralysis, but the typing was slow and imprecise. This latest work tests improvements to the speed and accuracy of the technology that interprets brain signals and drives the cursor.

"Our results demonstrate that this interface may have great promise for use in people," said Nuyujukian, who will join Stanford faculty as an assistant professor of bioengineering in 2017. "It enables a typing rate sufficient for a meaningful conversation."

The technology developed by the Stanford team involves a multi-electrode array implanted in the brain to directly read signals from a region that ordinarily directs hand and arm movements used to move a computer mouse.

It's the algorithms for translating those signals and making letter selections that the team members have been improving. They had tested individual components of the updated technology in prior monkey studies but had never demonstrated the combined improvements in typing speed and accuracy.

"The interface we tested is exactly what a human would use," Nuyujukian said. "What we had never quantified before was the typing rate that could be achieved." Using these high-performing algorithms developed by Nuyujukian and his colleagues, the animals could type more than three times faster than with earlier approaches.


This article is adapted from the Stanford Report.

Read full article.

September 2016

This month’s issue of IEEE Solid-State Circuits Magazine contains six feature articles on Mark Horowitz. The articles are a testament to Mark’s decades of contributions, covering his journey from childhood, his contributions to computer architecture and industry, and his guidance of Stanford PhD candidates who continue to become influential researchers.

The six articles by former students, colleagues, collaborators, and Mark himself are titled:

  • The Art of Breaking and Making
  • Mark Horowitz and his Impact on Computer Architecture
  • Rambus
  • Mark Horowitz’s Link for Chip-to-Chip Communication
  • The Legacy of Mark Horowitz in Me
  • Enabling the Hardware for Computational Photography


Congratulations to Mark on this unique honor. The articles are available as PDFs from the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Magazine.

This article is adapted from the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Magazine.

September 2016

As the breathalyzer does for alcohol, this experimental 'potalyzer' could provide a practical field test for determining whether a driver might be impaired from smoking marijuana.

This November, several states will vote whether to legalize marijuana use, joining more than 20 states that already allow some form of cannabis use. This has prompted a need for effective tools for police to determine on the spot whether people are driving under the influence.

Shan Wang and team have devised a potential solution, applying magnetic nanotechnology (GMR), previously used as a cancer screen, to create what could be the first practical roadside test for marijuana intoxication.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that GMR biosensors are capable of detecting small molecules," Wang wrote in a paper describing the device, published in Analytical Chemistry.

Professor Shan Wang and team created a mobile device that uses magnetic biosensors to detect tiny THC molecules in saliva. Officers could collect a spit sample with a cotton swab and read the results on a smartphone or laptop in as little as three minutes.

Wang's device can detect concentrations of THC in the range of 0 to 50 nanograms per milliliter of saliva. While there's still no consensus on how much THC in a driver's system is too much, previous studies have suggested a cutoff between 2 and 25 ng/mL, well within the capability of Wang's device.


The co-authors of the Analytical Chemistry paper are Jung-Rok Lee (ME PhD'15), Joohong Choi (EE PhD'15), and Tyler O. Shultz (Biology BS'13).


This article is adapted from the Stanford Report.

September 2016

Shanhui Fan and research team are developing a material that cools by letting perspiration evaporate through the material – something ordinary fabrics already do. But the Stanford material provides a second, revolutionary cooling mechanism: allowing heat that the body emits as infrared radiation to pass through the plastic textile.

"Forty to 60 percent of our body heat is dissipated as infrared radiation when we are sitting in an office," states Shanhui Fan, who specializes in photonics. "But until now there has been little or no research on designing the thermal radiation characteristics of textiles."

To develop their cooling textile, the Stanford researchers blended nanotechnology, photonics and chemistry to give polyethylene – the clear, clingy plastic we use as kitchen wrap – a number of characteristics desirable in clothing material: It allows thermal radiation, air and water vapor to pass right through, and it is opaque to visible light.

Eventually, the research culminated in a single-sheet material that met their three basic criteria for a cooling fabric. To make this thin material more fabric-like, they created a three-ply version: two sheets of treated polyethylene separated by a cotton mesh for strength and thickness.

"Wearing anything traps some heat and makes the skin warmer," Fan said. "If dissipating thermal radiation were our only concern, then it would be best to wear nothing."

Comparing the new fabric with cotton fabric, showed cotton making the skin surface 3.6 F warmer than their cooling textile. The researchers said this difference means that a person dressed in their new material might feel less inclined to turn on a fan or air conditioner.

Fan believes that this research opens up new avenues of inquiry to cool or heat things, passively, without the use of outside energy, by tuning materials to dissipate or trap infrared radiation.



This article is adapted from the Stanford Report.
Read full article



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February 2014

Three staff members each received a $50 Visa card in recognition of their extraordinary efforts as part of the department’s 2014 Staff Gift Card Bonus Program. The EE department received several nominations in January, and nominations from 2013 were also considered.

Following are January’s gift card recipients and some of the comments from their nominators:

Ann Guerra, Faculty Administrator

  • “She is very kind to students and always enthusiastic to help students… every time we need emergent help, she is willing to give us a hand.”
  • “Ann helps anyone who goes to her for help with anything, sometimes when it’s beyond her duty.” 

Teresa Nguyen, Student Accounting Associate

  • “She stays on top of our many, many student financial issues, is an extremely reliable source of information and is super friendly.”
  • “Teresa’s cheerful disposition, her determination, and her professionalism seem to go above and beyond what is simply required.”

Helen Niu, Faculty Administrator

  • “Helen is always a pleasure to work with.”
  • “She goes the extra mile in her dealings with me, which is very much appreciated.”

The School of Engineering once again gave the EE department several gift cards to distribute to staff members who are recognized for going above and beyond. More people will be recognized next month, and past nominations will still be eligible for future months. EE faculty, staff and students are welcome to nominate a deserving staff person by visiting

Ann Guerra  Teresa Nguyen  Helen Niu



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